So,whilst Zimbabwean political leaders are embarking on an unknown journey to the weird land of National Unity, protest singer Viomak is back with her new traditional release Happy 85th Birthday President R.G Matibili (Zimbabwe is Mine).The album has everything that passes it as a protest package like all of her previous productions. Every year on 21 February since 2006 Viomak releases a protest music album dedicated to Mugabe’s birthday . The album reminds Zimbabweans that Zimbabwe is President Matibili’s personal property according to what the failed dictator said whilst he rejected calls from some African leaders to step down. Matibili’s 85th expensive birthday party was held in Chinhoyi, despite the fact that Zimbabweans are dying of starvation .
For those of you unfamiliar with Viomak’s music, she is an independent singer with no alliances to any political party and she remains loyal and adamant to a music career that is influenced by socio -political activism. Zimbabwe is mine doesn’t celebrate anything except zanupf’s failures.Barely three months after releasing her album Zimbabwe Circus, Viomak has again taken on her responsibility as a protest singer to express herself with stimulating melodies. As she keeps up the struggle in song she is convinced that protest art does not end with GNU.
"Zimbabwe is rich in corrupt and incompetent leaders so the struggle continues even after GNU. More so it looks like it’s the sheets and not the bed that changed with GNU , as some of Tsvangirai’s members of parliament have already been named in a farming inputs scandal .Non aligned protest music will have to continue as a political watchdog" she said .
Her controversial music is always punctuating moments in time. Undeterred she has taken a stronger stand to express her thoughts and has remained true to being an artist of political expression. As she continues to sing the struggles and make demands through her music there is enough evidence that she has not failed to deliver in serving social commentary with all the trademarks of her music. The most unreserved criticism of the Zimbabwean government the album echoes a more detailed approach to the Zanu pf saga. With five protest albums to date she is still capable of skiing in the sand without losing focus. Zimbabwe Circus confirmed her status as the queen of protest music, and Zimbabwe is Mine rubber stamps her newly acquired status without doubt.
The album leaps from the platform as a glorious coalition of music styles without a shadow of a doubt that even with GNU the music will not be played on state radio unless otherwise. Her music carries on heightening up and intensifying the curiosity, until you fail to imagine what’s up next. Her music is evolving around a shiny orbit even though her musical achievements remain unreported in the Zimbabwean state press .Sister of the revolution in song, and successfully pioneering a new art form, Viomak takes a different approach in which she hopes to achieve her musical goals in a fair and unbiased manner .While there is no denying that her music is soaring in the right direction much more has to be achieved.
The album is headlined with the uplifting song Gukurahundi which addresses the controversial topic of gukurahundi. Whilst advocating for understanding , tolerance, peace and unity the vocals form a strong foundation for the song as they compete with the lively beat that forms a great foundation of this inspirational song. It highlights the issues surrounding gukurahundi in a comical manner, and exposes those behind the conflict which gave rise to the terror era.
The second song Mavhoterapapi has a slowish instrumental introduction and the beat changes as it welcomes Viomak’s voice with an inviting arrangement .The song is in solidarity with mavhoterapapi victims who were tortured for voting for Tsvangirai. She sings the song personally involving herself. Participatory music she calls it. This is an absolutely influential song offering an inglorious celebration of independence.
"I felt like writing about all those innocent souls killed during the political events that gave rise to many innocent voters’ wounds and deaths. I hope people will take the lyrics seriously and understand that reconciliation with Mugabe and Zanupf is a very bad start to democracy. We cannot talk of achieving democracy without achieving justice. Let this awaken some emotions and remind Zimbabweans that even with GNU we still have a responsibility to fight for justice .Our struggles do not end with GNU." she said.
The third song,Matibili wauraya (Matibili you have destroyed), offers a refreshing sound that is uplifting on the dance floor,with a touchy melody that unites the verses and the choruses over unshakable instrumentals and voices. Viomak contributes some wonderful lyrics which makes you wonder how Zimbabweans will react if the song is allowed to stream directly from state radio. Even though the song is a great musical soundscape it doesn’t call for misleading dances.
The fourth song is the harmless Gore iro (That year). The song has a profound bearing on the historical operations that took place in Zimbabwe .Her mixed vocal harmonies narrate the operations within layers of co operative instruments giving the song a greatly padded musical audio.
Media once reported that Mugabe fathered a son called Edward who resides in South Africa? To awaken you to the news Viomak wrote the song Baba vaEdward (Edward’s father). She tells Mugabe to be ashamed of himself and exit power .She refers to Grace as a shameful Disgrace who should be ashamed of engaging in exorbitant shopping sprees whilst the country is perishing. Baba vaEdward penetrates the album in a swift punch and lifts your mind momentarily taking it across the problems in Zimbabwe with regret and pain. Viomak sings what political leaders and some of their supporters don’t want to hear. This is why her musical journey story is not well told, documented and contextualized in Zimbabwe.
The sixth song Batai mutonge (Bring to justice) is a direct song of shaming which takes us back to the folkloristic culture. It roars with a bang, immediately leaving you in no doubt that it is going to provide some exciting dance moments in Zimbabwe. It is about a very significant subject with a tough message that says bring Bright Matonga, Happyton Bonyongwe, George Charamba, and Chipangano to justice after Mugabe is gone. However, Happyton Bonyongwe is the notorious CIO boss and how huge the song is going to get also depends on how Bonyongwe feels.
"You cannot succeed in fighting for freedom of expression if you oppress your mind yourself .Free your mind first from inner oppression before you ask your oppressor to free you "she said.
Viomak knows where her music cuts the deepest. Her courageous voice is also felt in the song Musaregerere JOC (Do not forgive JOC ) in which she pleads with Zimbabweans not to forgive the six JOC members namely Constantine Chiwenga, Paradzai Zimondi, Perence Shiri, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Augustine Chihuri and Gideon Gono .
"JOC members have caused so much harm and pain to Zimbabweans and letting them free is not only doing injustice to Zimbabweans but it defeats the whole purpose of fighting for democracy. Earthly justice should prevail. Heavenly justice will take its own course too."she said .
Musaregerere JOC ejects defiant lyrics harmonized around repeating verses that mention JOC members’ names with hard hitting echos. With a lively beat the song reflects her inner feelings as someone who is determined to see all human rights abusers in Zimbabwe brought to book.
Closing the album with a final piece of the birthday cake is Broken-buttock blues .The warm song was drafted around renowned poet John Eppel’s lyrics .After being requested to do so, Viomak crafted the poem into a song and provided a tune that comes across with the voice of a tortured woman who narrates how she was beaten by zanu pf thugs for voting Tsvangirai. The song ends the album with a mixture of English and Shona like a bilingual sermon, with the support of an outstanding organ that dictates the pace and tone of the song in a waltz style. Taking of collaboration. Viomak disclosed that she is working on collaborating on her next album with Tsunami, an MDC musical group. Together, these protest singers are hoping to manufacture an extravaganza of sound expressed through their varied vocals and expertise. Viomak is writing the songs of the album still to be named. Asked why she is collaborating with Tsunami when she is non partisan, Viomak said,
"We are fighting the same battle, but from different angles. We might not agree on certain issues but we can still come up with common lyrics to produce healthy protest music."
The surprises keep coming in. According to what she said,Viomak is contemplating writing music on GNU, in an album titled ZANU DC. Yes history has to be packed in wave format too or else upcoming generations will have to feed on Chigwedere’s fiction which is not good.